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January 25, 2002 04:30pm
007 Dis(Gold)members Austin Powers
Source: E Online
by: Marcus Errico

Forget Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, it's apparently James Bond that poses the biggest threat to Austin Powers.

The International Man of Mystery has been shaken, stirred and otherwise dismembered by 007. Or make that dis-Goldmember-ed.

MGM and Danjaq, the British company that controls the Bond film license, have obtained a cease-and-desist order against New Line Cinema that prohibits New Line from calling the latest installment of Mike Myers' shagadelic spy series Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Apparently, the 007 folks weren't too keen on the double entendre of Goldmember--a takeoff on the 1964 Bond classic, Goldfinger--and released the legal hounds to force the name change.

"MGM/UA and Danjaq have a zero-tolerance policy towards anyone who tries to trade in on the James Bond franchise without authorization," says an MGM spokesperson.

Over the past 24 hours, New Line has begun frantically recalling all promotional materials--posters, trailers, photos and anything else that bears the name Goldmember--from movie theaters, TV stations, Websites and other media outlets.

"We are currently in the arbitration process and trying to resolve this matter under the MPAA guidelines," the studio says in a statement. "Until that time, we will be referring to the film as the third installment of Austin Powers."

The suddenly untitled flick, which began shooting late last year, could require some serious tweaking if New Line can't get the Bond folks to budge. In addition to playing Powers, Dr. Evil and Fat Bastard, Myers was reportedly going to add a new character to his repertoire. The name? Goldmember.

One of the most anticipated films of 2002, the latest Austin Powers misadventure will costar Michael Caine as Austin's dad and Destiny Child's Beyoncé Knowles as the love interest. Returning cast members include Michael York, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Mindy Sterling and Verne Troyer. Jay Roach once again mans the director's seat.

New Line is banking on the film's success. The first installment Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery grossed $88 million worldwide and its sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me more than tripled that sum, earning $310 million, making it the highest grossing film in New Line's history. Myers reportedly netted $25 million for the third episode.

MGM and Danjaq have been fiercely protective of their multibillion-dollar Bond cash cow over the years. They successfully sued Sony in 1997 after the studio tried to launch its own 007 film.

The next Bond film, starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry and tentatively titled Bond 20, began shooting in England this month for a holiday release.


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